The problem we spent a semester working on was building a remote controlled glider which used morphing wings rather than traditional control surfaces. After interviewing our customer, we discovered a few metrics guiding the size of our project as well as the requirements of gliding and control. After brainstorming several ideas, we settled on a bat wing design keying in on the flexible wing material. The wing skin material we used ended up being made from one layer of plastic sandwiched by two layers of elastic fabric. The elastic skin was stretched over airfoil cross sections which rotated over a controlling torsion bar. The result were controllable, morphing surfaces for the main wings of our RC glider. The report contains several photos of the construction and videos of the operation of the wings. During testing we ran in to problems with weather which limited the results we could obtain. This meant we fell short on some of our design metrics such as flight time and glide ratio. However, we were able to successfully demonstrate control in the air by using the morphing wings. In the future, we would like to build upon our success by cutting down on weight in the parts used for construction, the addition of pitch control through controllable rear elevator surfaces, the addition of landing gear, and finally by ensuring proper weather conditions before flying.
Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Mechanical Engineering Design Project (MEMS 411)
Kurtz, Mark J. Jr; Miller, Erika L.; and Acquaye, Francis K., "MEMS 411 Morphing Wing RC Glider Senior Design Project" (2014). Mechanical Engineering Design Project Class. 11.